Entrepreneurship is all about pitching the right idea, making plans, executing it, and hiking. The similarity between hiking and entrepreneurship starts with having an idea expanded to a dream. We build upon the dream to plan and execute the grand idea to start a journey towards achieving that goal.
As a hiker, you learn about entrepreneurship better than from any other paid or unpaid courses. Although, as they say, experience is the best teacher, hiking teaches many lessons about managing a business and entrepreneurship. Here are seven lessons that’ll make you a better entrepreneur.
1. Being Prepared for Anything
As an entrepreneur, you dive into uncertainty. Whether your idea is viable enough and whether you’ll be able to secure investments, everything seems challenging and uncertain at the initial stages. But with progress, you learn to manage your emotions and business more rationally.
Hiking presents a similar opportunity. When you have the idea to hike a trail, it starts a process. If you’re a lone hiker, you need to manage the accommodations, dining, routes, weather, daylight, and everything else alone. For hikers in a group, the job of convincing the members and accumulating them is a much scarier challenge.
Being a hiker, you need to be prepared for anything, and so is entrepreneurship. Although the scenarios may be different in each case, the emotional and physical stress are similar.
For instance, when hiking the Dolomites, where you’ll at most get an 11-12 hours walk before twilight, you may have to stay cautious about the daylight to not stress yourself in the Tour du mont Blanc. Although self-guided tours are available, it’s up to you to manage your time and safety. In contrast, you need to be careful about not overworking your employees and their satisfaction in entrepreneurship.
2. Realization of Self
Self-realization is a perk of hiking. It isn’t a lesson that can be taught through any other means than experience. Not only hiking, anything that you’re passionate about will inevitably bring out the truth about yourself. In entrepreneurship, while driving towards the goal, you’ll start to understand your self-worth and pain points. In the long run, these self-realizations will fuel your company’s culture and policies.
While hiking, the absence of distractions and the humbleness of the giant mountains enables you to think only about your life decisions and yourself. At a certain point, when your body starts to adapt to the physical exhaustion, the emotions start taking over. For an entrepreneur, this is what may drive you to realize new ideas and practices that can be implemented into your already existing system.
3. Managing Time Efficiently
Hiking requires you to learn time management. While trekking long elevated treks, you need to get ahead of yourself in terms of managing the available daylight to successfully complete the summit. If you already have booked your accommodations, which you should, not being able to reach there before dusk isn’t a wise choice. For slow walkers like me, starting early and precisely calculating the time it may take to reach the destination is critical for trekking in the Alps.
As an entrepreneur, time management is extremely crucial. In the initial stages, when you’re starting to plant the idea, the excitement of it may allow you to work 16+ hours a day. But as you progress and a few months pass by, your body starts crumbling down due to the absence of rest.
Hiking teaches you to manage your time effectively. It ensures that you take things slow and at the intended pace. While I was launching my first website, I used to wake up at night and check how many visitors it got and if everything was alright. I would get nightmares of forgetting to implement the chatbot and missing out on three missed users. It wasn’t sustainable. If you want to be successful in entrepreneurship, you need to learn time management. Hiking helps you with that.
4. Resource Management
Any business requires resources to sustain its operations. Be it financial or human; resources are the lifeline of a business. As an entrepreneur, you must care for your resources as you do for your own. Not putting enough effort into essential resources and pampering the sub-par ones is a formula for demise.
You need to understand which funds need the most cash, which employees are more proficient, and which members are deadweight. Then, by only keeping the essentials, you can sustain your business and grow it to a new high.
Hiking is similar. Amateur hikers keep cramping their bags with non-essentials like gadgets, heavy tools, expensive camera gear, excessive clothing, and new shoes. They often forgot to bring the basic necessities like a first-aid kit, socks, knives, camping gear, and fire-equipments.
5. Determination to Reach the Destination
A lot of entrepreneurs fail in the first few years due to a lack of determination. In any business, hardship is imminent. But if you don’t have the determination to face the challenges and shine above them, you can’t ever succeed. You need to set your eyes toward the goal without focusing on the failures.
It’s possible that you may fail the first time. For example, your product may not be relevant; you may not understand the market, or the manufacturer may mess up. But once you accumulate these experiences, the journey will seem a lot easier the next time.
You need to have a similar mindset to be successful in hiking. Although the definition of success is different, hiking and entrepreneurship are connected through the string of determination and the eagerness to succeed.
6. Enjoying the Struggle
Apart from achieving the peak, the journey should also be cherished in hiking. The rising sun, snow-covered mountains, pines, rivers, waterfalls, and wildlife make the most of any hiking tour. If you’re someone who enjoys hiking, it’s possible that you like exploring the terrains more than the peak itself.
As an entrepreneur, your goal is to reach the top. But that can’t happen without a struggle. From the day your idea is planted and you start working towards it, you’ll keep struggling until the day your first batch of products is sold, and you become confident enough to order more. To survive, you need to start enjoying hardship. Although a failed attempt may not seem enjoyable, once you’ve succeeded, you’ll look back at these challenges with pride.
7. Realistic Goal Setting
It’s understandable wanting to make progress as fast as possible. As an entrepreneur, the more delay, the more losses you may face. But rushing the process and setting unrealistic goals, expecting everyone to have the same mindset and capabilities as yourself, is unproductive. You need to set realistic goals by adhering to the limits of your team.
If you’re an experienced hiker, you must already know how hard it is to reach destinations that aren’t achievable in a single day. Falling prey to your confidence, we often make mistakes traveling a few more kilometers—bringing complexity. It shouldn’t happen in business.
As a business requires managing the employees, you need to be aware of their limits and set realistic goals to satisfy the needs of both you and them.
The Bottom Line
Hiking is quite similar to entrepreneurship. Hiking teaches you to be prepared for challenges, time management, and resource management. It makes you realize your self-worth and gives you a lesson about determination. With hiking, you’ll start enjoying the struggles and learn realistic goal setting. Moreover, you’ll be a better entrepreneur and businessperson with hiking.
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